Denver, CO — April 30, 2020 — Second Amendment advocates celebrated victory today in a battle over gun owners’ rights in New Mexico. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday afternoon that firearms retailers would be allowed to reopen on May 1st.
Previously, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Grisham issued emergency shutdown orders for all non-essential businesses by March 24, 2020. Her list of essential businesses did not include firearms retailers. Days later, on March 28, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security issued a memorandum classifying them as essential, but the New Mexico order remained unchanged.
Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) filed a lawsuit in the federal district court of New Mexico on April 10, 2020, challenging the closure order for gun retailers and repair shops, on behalf of the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation, and Firearms Policy Coalition, along with various gun retailers and individuals.
The closure of firearms retailers in the state is a clear violation of the Second Amendment protected rights of New Mexicans. Federal law and New Mexico law almost entirely prohibits the sale of firearms except through authorized sellers at physical retail locations. The closure of physical retail locations unlawfully infringes on citizens’ rights as guaranteed under the Constitution.
Record numbers of Americans purchased a firearm last month. More than 3.7 million FBI background checks were conducted in March, the highest monthly total on record. The number of checks for gun purchases was up 80% over March of 2019. This surge in demand demonstrates that Americans do in fact deem firearms to be “essential” in this time of national uncertainty.
“We are pleased that Gov. Grisham has finally acknowledged New Mexicans’ constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms,” said Cody Wisniewski, MSLF’s lead attorney on the case. “We will discuss Gov. Grisham’s decision with our clients and decide the next step forward in this lawsuit.”
This change will not be official until the governor’s new order goes into effect.
Mountain States Legal Foundation is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are located outside Denver, Colorado.